If you’re forming an LLC or corporation, you will need to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This number identifies you to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and is a useful reference for correspondence and paying taxes. When it comes to getting an EIN, you can use Incfile’s paid service, or get one directly from the IRS for free.
We offer a paid service for getting an EIN, so why would we tell you how to get one for free? It’s simple — we want to keep things easy for you. If you’re short on time and just want a convenient way to get an EIN when you’re forming your business, we make it easy. If you’ve got more time for business administration and you don’t mind filling in forms, you can go the “Do It Yourself” route too.
How to File for an EIN Directly With the IRS
There are four ways to apply for an EIN with the IRS:
- Apply online through the EIN application system on the IRS website.
- Apply by mail by filling out Form SS-4 and sending it to the relevant tax office.
- Apply by fax by filling out Form SS-4 and faxing it to the appropriate number.
- Apply by telephone (you can only apply this way if you’re an international applicant).
If you file online, your application will be checked and validated by the IRS, and you’ll be issued with an EIN immediately. Other methods of applying may delay you getting an EIN by a few days to a few weeks.
Requirements for Obtaining an EIN
You’ll need to meet the following criteria to get an EIN:
- Your principal business must be located in the U.S. or a U.S. territory
- You must have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number, like a Social Security Number or another EIN
- You can only receive one EIN per responsible party per day
Information Needed for the EIN Application Form SS-4
Here’s what the IRS asks you to include on an SS-4 form:
- The name and mailing address of your business
- Your current Taxpayer Identification Number
- The type of entity that you’re requesting an EIN for
- Your reason for applying for an EIN
- Details of when your business started and your accounting year
- The number of people you expect to employ in the next 12 months
- Date you expect to start paying wages
- The principal activity of your business
- Third party details
The Purpose of an Employer Identification Number
Here’s what the IRS says about the EIN:
“Employer Identification Numbers are issued for the purpose of tax administration and are not intended for participation in any other activities (e.g., tax lien auction or sales, lotteries, etc.)”
How to Get an EIN Through Incfile
If you’d rather not go through the hassle of applying for an EIN directly with the IRS, then we can obtain one on your behalf. You can request an EIN when you first form your business with us, or at any point afterward.
You can go to our online EIN request service, where we’ll ask you for the following information.
- Your name, address and contact information
- Details of your company including name, type, date and state of incorporation
- Name of the principal officer or owner and their Social Security Number
- Principal business activity
- How many people own your business
- Number of wage-withholding employees
- Date of first wages paid
Although we do charge a nominal fee for this service, it’s often faster and easier to apply for an EIN through us than by going directly to the IRS. We can normally provide you with your EIN within one business day.
Note that we apply for and obtain an EIN for you automatically as part of our gold and platinum package incorporation service.
When You Might Need to Apply for a New Employer Identification Number
If you already have an EIN and the organization or ownership of your business changes, you may need to apply for a new number. Here are some of the circumstances under which a new number is required:
- An existing business is purchased or inherited by an individual who will operate it as a sole proprietorship
- A sole proprietorship changes to an LLC, corporation or partnership
- A partnership changes to an LLC, corporation or sole proprietorship
- A corporation changes to an LLC, partnership or sole proprietorship
- An LLC changes to a corporation, partnership or sole proprietorship
- An individual owner dies, and the estate takes over the business
Other Useful Resources on Employer Identification Numbers
Here are some of our other useful articles about getting an EIN: